Archive for the ‘secularism’ tag
by DV Maheshwari
from DNA: Daily News and Analysis, India
Another chapter was added to the history of communal harmony in secular Kutch last week when Acharya Purushottam Priyadasji Maharaj, chief of the Maninagar (Ahmedabad) Swaminaryan Gadi Sansthan, laid the foundation stone of a Muslim community hall in Kera village.
The community hall is being built in the Swaminarayan Nagar area of the village by non-resident Indian Salim Molu, a Khoja (Ismaili) Muslim philanthropist based in Mombasa, Kenya. Molu has also announced a donation of Rs50 lakh to the Aga Khani Ismaili Khoja community of the village.
Molu had met Acharya Purushottam Priyadasji last year during the latter’s visit to Kenya and the United Kingdom.
The foundation-laying ceremony took place amid a large presence of people from both the Patel and Khoja communities, which are in almost equal number in Kera. The community hall is expected to be ready by this time next year. According to Prem Patel, solicitor of Molu Firms in the UK, it will also be inaugurated by Acharya Swami.
by Heather Keel
A secular humanist, an agnostic and an atheist walk into a church.
That wasn’t the setup for a joke Wednesday night in Hagerstown, but for an evening of impassioned discussion hosted by the Interfaith Coalition of Washington County to encourage dialogue among people with different beliefs and ideas.
About 50 people attended the group’s “Dialogue with Non-Theists,” held at Hagerstown Church of the Brethren.
Ed Branthaver, a member of Hagerstown Freethinkers, moderated a panel discussion by secular humanist Eldon Winston, agnostic Zsun-nee Matema and atheist Brian Fields, about how their philosophies shape their beliefs about morality, the soul and what happens after death.
by Nicholas Kristof
from the New York Times
A few years ago, God seemed caught in a devil of a fight.
Atheists were firing thunderbolts suggesting that “religion poisons everything,” as Christopher Hitchens put it in the subtitle of his book, “God Is Not Great.” Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins also wrote best sellers that were scathing about God, whom Dawkins denounced as “arguably the most unpleasant character in fiction.”
Yet lately I’ve noticed a very different intellectual tide: grudging admiration for religion as an ethical and cohesive force.
The standard-bearer of this line of thinking — and a provocative text for Easter Sunday — is a new book, “Religion for Atheists,” by Alain de Botton. He argues that atheists have a great deal to learn from religion.
“One can be left cold by the doctrines of the Christian Trinity and the Buddhist Eightfold Path and yet at the same time be interested in the ways in which religions deliver sermons, promote morality, engender a spirit of community, make use of art and architecture, inspire travels, train minds and encourage gratitude at the beauty of spring,” de Botton writes.
by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
from Huffington Post
In the final days of 2011 we pause to reflect on the year that has past — the good, the bad and the ugly. Here are the HuffPost Religion Top Stories of 2011.
The Muslim Spring
It started with a simple vegetable seller in Tunisia who, humiliated by the police and autocracy, set himself on fire at the end of 2010. One year later, the seemingly eternal regimes of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have fallen to popular uprisings and several others, including Syria, appear to be teetering. Once called the Arab Spring, Islam is increasingly being recognized as the fuel that fed the fire of these revolutions — a fire that that may both warm and burn in 2012.
The Dalai Lama Steps Down
The Dalai Lama made history when he relieved himself from his responsibility as political head of the Tibetan people to concentrate solely on his role as spiritual leader; ending one of the most enduring, if benevolent, theocracies in the world. Lobsang Sangay, the Harvard-trained legal scholar, is the the new Tibetan Prime Minister in a time when frustrations with Chinese policy is leading to a fiery form of radical protests by nuns and monks.
Mormons in Politics
The potential success of the Romney presidential campaign has fed a frenzy of discussion of what it means that a Mormon is in politics. The fact that Romney is not the only Mormon candidate (Huntsman) and that the Senate Majority Leader (Reid) is also Mormon doesn’t seem to stop the endless punditry and speculation. Will religious suspicion on the part of evangelicals in the primary and secularists in the general election doom this Mormon moment?
The Muslims Are Coming, The Muslims Are Coming
Fear of the “Muslim menace,” fueled by cynical politicians and well funded think tanks, has led to anti-sharia laws proposed and passed in states around the country. The fact that these states hadno pending pro-sharia laws is apparently beside the point. Creating bulwarks instead of bridges, the anti-sharia (read Muslim) movements seem to ebb and flow according to the political tides (think Park 51 in 2010). Get ready for a flood in 2012.
The End of the World
In order to give people time to repent, people with May 21 Judgment Day signs started popping up well before the announced date of the end of the world. The “prophet” of this apocalypse was Harold Camping, an elderly man with a drawling voice heard most prominently on his Family Radio empire. People left jobs, families prepared to be raptured and as the clock ticked down, the entire world held its collective unbelieving breath. And then time went on, and oddly a little disappointed, so did we.
Presbyterians Acknowledge Gays and Lesbians Can Be Ministers
Ho hum, gays can be ministers, too. Yet, for the Presbyterian Church, one of America’s most famously and proudly plodding religious traditions, to change its laws to allow openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy was a major step forward for LGBT rights and for the Church as a whole.
Punjab – the land of five rivers – lies in North West India. Bhangra and Gidda are world famous dances, which have their roots in Punjab. Punjabi culture reflects the colour and happiness in one, and has been successful in binding people from different faiths together against all odds. And in Mohali District, which houses many small and medium enterprises, the spirit of amity exist between different communities that live and work here. One such example can be found at Majestic Printers, where Hindu and Muslim employees work together in an environment of complete harmony. Though owned by a Sikh, the supervisor of the press is a Muslim. The product range includes cards, magazines, brochures and stationary items. In addition, the press also prints a special page from Gurbani, that is, teachings by Sikh spiritual leaders, free of cost.
San Jose Interfaith Examiner writer D. Andrew Kille, himself a participant in the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions, has written a short piece on the final event in Melbourne. While the article is careful to mention the addresses of major religious leaders and musical performances, Kille takes a few moments to consider the Dalai Lama‘s appeal to “a strong secularism – not a secularism that denies the importance of religion, but one which respects the practitioners of all religions and of none.”
The article concludes with a convenient list of links and interreligious resources.
To read the full piece, click here.